IRVING, Texas – For NFL Draft hopefuls, the pre-draft process should probably be defined as one long, four-month interview: the Senior Bowl featuring top senior prospects; the NFL Scouting Combine; individual workouts. The nation's draft-eligible players are floating their football résumé to all 32 teams leading up to draft weekend.
Early April typically brings the next step in the process: the Cowboys are getting set to host the bulk of their 30 allotted national visits with draft-eligible players over the next week. Team coaches and staff can meet with up to 30 prospects to get a sense of where each might fit on the roster if selected.
The Cowboys don't release an official list of 'Top 30' visits. Names are starting to surface, however; Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson tweeted Monday morning that he was headed to Dallas for a visit, and Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell confirmed his visit via Instagram.
The Cowboys hold the No. 4 overall pick and have spent time evaluating the projected top offensive and defensive players in the 2016 class. In January, North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz played on the Cowboys-coached North squad at the Senior Bowl. Two weeks ago, head coach Jason Garrett said the team had official workouts scheduled with Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch and a group of draft-eligible Ohio State prospects.
With only 30 national visits permitted by the league, it's logical the Cowboys more often than not have drafted a 'Top 30' invite in the first round. Last year, defensive back Byron Jones took a pre-visit to Valley Ranch and got selected by Dallas at No. 27 overall. So did the team's previous two first-round picks, Zack Martin (2014) and Travis Frederick (2013).
Later this week the Cowboys are also expected to hold their annual Dallas Day workout with draft prospects who have local high school or college ties.
The team has nine selections in the 2016 NFL Draft: (No. 4, 34, 67, 104, 135, 189, 212, 216, 217).